Is there any difference between an iPod 5th Generation (80GB, late 2006) and an iPod Classic (160GB, late 2009)?

The 80GB iPod works perfectly with a USA-SPEC PA-12 adapter for a BMW car stereo and a simple 30-pin to USB adapter for input to a receiver. The newer 160GB iPod is not recognized and will not play.

I also have a SONY RDP-X500iP Dock. The newer 160GB iPod works with it, but the old 80GB iPod does not.

Can anyone help me with these two iPods?

2 Answers 2


Well, of course there are differences. :)

However, the only difference I can see that may impact your usage is that the latest version of the OS that will run on these iPods is different. The 160GB iPod can run up to version 2.0.5 of the OS while the 80GB iPod can only run up to version 1.3. So I suspect your issue may have something to do with what the OS supports.

In terms of the USB connectivity via the built-in 30 pin port, they both support USB 2 high power charging, so it's not likely to be a physical port issue.

You could probably find a different 30-pin to USB adapter that will work for the 160GB iPod for input to the receiver in the BMW, but that may involve a fair bit of trial and error.

  • The USA-SPEC PA-12 interface for the audio system in the car comes with a cable and 30-pin connector. I'm using a SCOSCHE IFWAHBK Home Dock passPort Charging Adapter in addition to provide a mounting point for the iPod in the center console. I don't think it (the Scosche) simply passes all 30-pin contacts straight through since it "is specifically designed to fix the charging error associated with several iPod docking stations".
    – KSTinMB
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 22:54

The USA-SPEC PA-12 adapter and SONY RDP-X500iP speaker dock support a limited number of iPod models.

The user guide for the USA-SPEC PA-12 says:

iPod Classic is not compatible with Hybrid Mode if its firmware is 1.1 or newer. It is compatible with the Playlist Mode and Direct Mode.

Check the guide for the settings that may work with the iPod Classic.

The user guide for the SONY RDP-X500iP lists these compatible iPods:

iPod touch (4th generation), (3rd generation), (2nd generation)
iPod nano (6th generation), (5th generation), (4th generation), (3rd generation)
iPod classic

so the iPod 5th Generation (80GB) is not compatible with the Sony dock.

iPod 5th Generation (80GB)
Introduced: September 2006, discontinued: September 2007
Model: A1136

iPod Classic (160 GB)
Introduced: September 2007, discontinued: September 2008
Model: A1238
  • Thanks very much for the research and information, especially the link citations. iPod 5th Generation (80GB) is also a Model A1238 according to the serial number (2Z70301MV9P) which is why I hoped it would behave the same as the iPod Classic with the same 30-pin hardware interface. But I guess the firmware difference is enough to explain the incompatibility with the other manufacturers' devices (V1.3 for the 80GB and V2.0.4PC for the 160GB).
    – KSTinMB
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 22:31
  • At least the SONY RDP-X500iP has a secondary Audio In which can use a 3.5mm cable from the iPod's headphone jack, albeit without the unit's remote control. I have written to USA-SPEC to ask about why the 160GB iPod is not recognized at all.
    – KSTinMB
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 22:35

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